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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Another 4 am start. This time to pick Tannat our favourite grape variety.

Tannat is mostly found in Madiran where they make these powerful full bodied robust wines that age incredibly. They tend to drink the wines young rather than let them age. Consequently the longevity of males in Madiran is higher than the rest of France. There is probably a terroir factor involved as well. Although this is Hunter Valley Tannat and it may not contain all the longevity factors of its French grown cousin we are willing to give it a chance.

The fruit this vintage was exceptionally good. Healthy large bunches hung from the vines. Some of the bunches had berries that had commenced dehydrating and concentrating the sugars and improving the skin to juice ratio. The brix at crush showed 25 which is excellent. The pH came in at 3.76 indicating a ripe fruit but needed some Tartaric Acid to bring it closer to 3.5. The taste test was the best indication of ripeness. The sweet flavours had no unripe greenness and I tested a lot of bunches as picking progressed.

The picking of Tannat is an absolute pleasure the bunches have long stems and hang low on the vine. It went so quickly and with the fruit in such a good state that a little extra was picked resulting in an 80 KG harvest.

At HHF the two barrels went straight into the freezer while breakfast was consumed and a little work performed across the river. In the afternoon the grapes went through the crusher/de-stemmer and the must went back to the freezers to get it down to Minus 3 C.

Once again we intent to try preliminary freezing as a way to extract the maximum colour and phenolics by shattering the cells in the skin.

Apologies to Gavin Webster and his followers on Greening of Gavin for our over use of energy in wine making but we promise to compensate somewhere else. Sometimes the passion to produce the best possible end product overpowers all else.

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